Singer 128-13 Vibrating Shuttle Problems

Katie, my Singer 128-13, has been having fits all weekend. Out of nowhere it started making an awful ka-chunking sound while sewing and I was afraid it would break another needle, like it did the first night I had it, so I had to stop sewing and try to assess the problem.

I cleaned it, oiled it, removed the presser foot and needle and replaced them to make sure they hadn’t been put in incorrectly or gotten loose and were connecting. I cleaned the shuttle and the shuttle race oil wick (pulling out decades of icky lint that was truly shudder inducing). I changed the needle to a brand new one, since that it was seemed to fix the problem last time – still no dice. I checked all of the screws and tightened one on the bottom that was loose. Still nothing. I tried to check the timing based on tutorials I had found online, but couldn’t figure out what was off –

Both of those pictures are dark because I took them last night when I was having a go at trying to figure out the issue for the second day in a row. All the pieces are Singer parts, the needle was in the lowest position when the photos were taken, but I couldn’t see a line on any of those parts to judge the timing. Maybe I’m just a total dope and didn’t see it. I didn’t know how to get down into the bottom with the feed dogs to assess them correctly, but the sound seems to come from the feed dog area. I don’t see any “burrs” on the feed dogs, everything technically appears fine, but it still makes that noise and sometimes seizes up, so I’ve decided not to even attempt using it until I can figure out something else to try or some way to fix it.

Not being able to use it has made me sad. I love that machine. Last night I ended up having to use my modern Janome (a Mystyle 100), which was a real drag in some ways after using a vintage machine. For one thing, it just can’t cope with thick materials at all. And trying to work with that tiny harp space is a super drag. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy it, but definitely not anywhere near as much as I love using my 128-13. After using a vintage machine, using a modern machine is frankly kind of depressing. But I have a bunch of skirts, other clothing, bags, quilts, etc, that I am in the process of making to donate to my local women’s shelter, so I will press on with the modern world and try to figure out a way to fix poor old Katie. If anyone knows what could be wrong, or what else I could try, please do let me know! I’d appreciate any help I can get at this point.

But Sunday afternoon was finally sunny, so I was finally able to take some better photographs of Zelda after those first gloomy, dark photos! So I thought that I would share them, since I promised last time that I would. Now you should be able to see the gorgeous gold Sphinx decals much better than before.

I wish that using Zelda by turning the hand wheel manually wasn’t quite so slow and so tough on my bird boned wrists, I’d use her to sew with more until I figure out how to fix my other machine.

Wish me luck figuring this all out. I’m a total beginner when it comes to sewing machine servicing and repairs, and this current problem has me completely stumped. I still have a feeling it could be a timing issue, because drawing up the bobbin thread/making the needle thread and bobbin thread form a loop after re-threading the bobbin or the machine is always a matter of trial and error with this machine as well. Plus that first needle that broke and now all of this mess starting up again. I just don’t know what to do at this point. If this is something I can fix on my own, I would much rather do that than have to take it to the shop and get charged an arm and a leg. I’m hoping I can fix it in the end.

Let’s Take 1930’s Home Economics Together! Chapter Two: Spending Our Time and Money

Last time in the series on home economics, we learned about good grooming. Today, for our second lesson from “The Mode in Dress and Home” by Dulcie Godlove Donovan, we will be learning about budgeting our time and money – see, people were talking about time management even way back in the 1930’s! I found this chapter very interesting and useful, and I hope you do too!

(Click to enlarge and read pages)

Next time, we will be reading Chapter Three: Shopping Wisely. Another useful lesson!

Butterick 9410

My 1940’s Butterick pattern arrived this week and I just had to share it with you, because it is just so adorable, even the Deltor is cute! I haven’t had a chance to start sewing it yet, but when I do I will begin with view B.

All pattern pieces were present and accounted for, and it looks as though it has never actually been used! The instructions in the Deltor are really easy to understand from what I’ve read so far, and I’m very excited to start sewing!

Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, 1961

Today I’m sharing my copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, my edition is from 1961 and has such adorable illustrations that when I saw it in the thrift store, I had to buy it right away. I will also be sharing some pages from the section on pattern alterations for different fitting issues, a photocopied knitting pattern (I think?) that the last owner left in the book, along with notes that were written on the back pages and some of the cute, matchy-matchy photos from the home decorating chapter. I hope you all enjoy these!

Pictures after the jump, due to this post being very image heavy!

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And Then There Were None, 1945


(Image Credit:

Ten strangers are invited to a remote island by an unknown person. It soon comes to light that each of them has committed (or has been accused of committing) murder, and one by one they are killed according to a disturbing nursery rhyme. As the killing continues, they start suspecting that the mysterious unseen killer must be one of them.

Watching director Rene Clair’s film adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie novel last night left me inexplicably on edge and as jumpy as a cat. The paranoia, claustrophobia and fear that pervades the film is definitely effective!

So grab a bowl of popcorn and prepare to be spooked by this unhinged brainchild of the Queen of Mystery herself, Agatha Christie.

Pollyanna (1913) and Pollyanna Grows Up (1927 edition) by Eleanor Hodgman Porter

Today I’d like to share my first edition copy of Pollyanna by Eleanor Hodgman Porter, as well as my copy of Pollyanna Grows Up, which was first published in 1915, mine is the 1927 edition. Some may remember the story of the nearly insufferably positive and “glad” orphan Pollyanna Harrington from the 1960 Disney movie starring Hayley Mills in the title role. I haven’t actually read these books, yet, but plan on starting just as soon as I finish the ten book deep pile I’m currently making my way through. I could do with a large dose of syrupy, saccharine sweet gladness in spite of adversity.

I got these two books by chance in a box of free books – what luck! I love the note written in the copy of Pollyanna, to a young girl from her mother in 1926. It’s so sweet I had to include it.


McCall’s New Complete Book of Sewing and Dressmaking, 1957 edition, plus thoughts on sewing and self esteem

I love the illustrations and photographs in this book – so pretty, so 1950’s. The book is filled with good, practical advice and techniques, but also has interesting little asides – for example, the “no one likes herself!” section. Of course, they then go on to tell you that you can make clothes that will fit and flatter you, so you will like yourself more, I suppose. I will admit here that sewing has been a huge boost to my self esteem – yes, the clothes I have made so far make me feel happier about myself when I wear them, but it has a lot more to do with the sense of accomplishment it gives me, as well as the feelings of freedom, independence, self-sufficiency, and creativity. I’m sure that as I get better at dressmaking, that sense of self-pride will only continue to grow. Sewing, learning and creating has helped me like myself better, and for someone with life-long body image issues, wearing clothes that I have made for myself that not only fit, but that I love and enjoy wearing has helped me ease up on myself quite a lot. When I look in the mirror and I see something that I made, it puts a smile on myself, instead of an automatic frown. So, maybe McCall’s has it right.

I also love knowing that all those vintage styles that I have drooled over for decades but could never afford are now within my grasp, because I can sew them for myself! And even if some techniques are beyond my skill level at the moment, one day they won’t be! I will continue learning and growing with this process and that makes me happy.

All that said, I would love to wear just about every outfit in this book! And the women are all so 50’s adorable and chic, the photographs in this book always make me smile. I hope that you like these, I couldn’t help myself and took about 55 photos of this book so there is a lot to look at! Enjoy!


Spotlight: The Andrews Sisters, featuring “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”


(Image Source: Wikipedia)

The Andrews Sisters were actual sisters LaVerne, Maxene and Patty Andrews who sang together in a close harmony group during the swing and boogie-woogie eras. During WWII they toured extensively entertaining the Allied forces with songs such as the one I’m featuring today, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” I love these gals, watching them perform is always so fun and Patty reminds me of my middle sister. Listening to them sing or watching them perform in old videos found on youtube always puts a smile on my face. Swing music is one of my favourite things, and these girls do it to absolute perfection.


After the cut, you can watch a biography on the Andrews Sisters. I hope you enjoy it!

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Spotlight: Glamour Photography Magazine, 1956

One of my sisters gave me this magazine as a gift years back, and I wanted to share it with you all today. When I look at the pictures in this magazine, I wonder about the women who were photographed; did they do any other types of modelling? Did they like their work in magazines like this one? What were their lives like? Who were they, really? Some of the photographs themselves are truly kitschy, making use of some pretty outrageous props, or trying to depict little ridiculous stories – such as the feature “I Photographed Two Beautiful Hitchhikers.” It is an interesting look back at the so-called “glamour” photography of the 1950’s, for sure.

Now, onto the photos! I’ll put them behind a cut due to being possibly NSFW.

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